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May 27, 2021

Coronavirus company news summary – Belgium halts use of J&J vaccine after first EU death reported – Dyadic and Syngene partner on developing new Covid-19 vaccine in India

By Chris Lo

Belgium has halted the administration of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Covid-19 vaccine for individuals aged 41 years and below following Europe’s first death from severe side-effects linked to the jab. A 37-year-old woman in Belgium died after suffering a blood clot with low platelets. The country’s health minister and seven regional counterparts stated that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) will carry out a benefit-risk analysis, while the general population above 41 years will continue to be vaccinated with the Janssen Covid-19 vaccine temporarily, pending a more detailed analysis.

Biotechnology company Dyadic International has collaborated with India-based contract research, development and manufacturing company Syngene to develop a Covid-19 vaccine candidate. The new vaccine is expected to provide protection against current and future variants of concern and will be produced on a large scale and affordably using Dyadic’s C1-cell protein production platform.

Altimmune, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, has released new data from a preclinical study showing that the company’s Covid-19 vaccine, AdCOVID, can neutralise the rapidly emerging B.1.351 variant of concern from South Africa. The variant has been found to carry multiple mutations in the receptor binding domain (RBD) including the E484K mutation that may reduce the efficacy of authorised vaccines. The study was conducted along with Saint Louis University researchers, who found the neutralising titer against B.1.351 to be only 4.4-fold lower than the neutralising titer against an original Wuhan-like isolate when treated with a single intranasal dose of AdCOVID.

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